It’s one of those years. A lean year. A year where it seems more money has gone out than come in. And now Christmas is upon us. I love this time of year, but thinking of buying all those gifts has me stressed out this year. I don’t want to just use a credit card and hope to pay it off later. That won’t alleviate the stress, even if it gives one day of happiness.
We mentioned to our kids that it would be a light year for presents. They get it. They know the season isn’t just about presents anyway. We’ve taught them the true meaning of Christmas and will continue to do so. But presents are a lot of fun. I get it! My love language is giving and receiving gifts, so it’s painful for me not to buy gifts for everyone around me. I have ideas circling constantly in my head about what I could give this child or that friend and I have to restrain myself because the bank account says so.
When we told our kids they’d each get one small gift this year the first response from my two oldest was, “just take money from my account, Mom. You can take whatever you need.” I got so choked up by that. Their very first, matter-of-fact response was to be generous and give away what they had to make someone else happy! I got all teary and just wanted to hug them for their sweet hearts. Of course, I’m not taking money from my kids. They work hard for that and it’s theirs, but their willingness to be giving spoke volumes to me.
Instead, I decided to start making barn wood signs to make a little extra money so we could afford some gifts for Christmas. When I shared that with my kids my ten year olds jumped on it right away! “We’re going to help! We want to make signs too!” And there they were, right beside me on my work bench designing their own signs to sell. They’ve also been making art work to sell too! It’s the most endearing thing to watch them all get on board and work together. They have had such cheerful hearts about the whole situation.
Then the other evening one of my boys said, “I’m going to be a little late coming home after work tonight.” When we asked why he mentioned he was going to Target to buy us Christmas gifts. I couldn’t believe it. He was so excited to go buy his mom and dad something. He had the biggest grin on his face and was proud that he could do that! I again got teary.
My kids aren’t perfect and I’m not trying to tout them as such. I am just so blown away by who they are at their cores. I am not a great mom. I yell, I get angry too often. I am impatient and frustrated a lot of the time. And yet, somehow, these kids are doing okay. Not okay…amazing! They have the most generous hearts and a willingness to go above and beyond that has convicted me.
The lessons I learn from my kids sometimes surprise me. It surprises me because I didn’t teach them that. I didn’t teach my kids to be generous, at least not intentionally. I’ve tried to teach them to share and be kind. But I haven’t ever thought through, “I want my kids to be generous so we are going to do …. to get them there.” I have to give credit to the Lord. He’s the one who is instilling these amazing traits in my kids. And, through them, teaching me some good life lessons!
If anyone is interested in barn wood signs (made with authentic ancient barn wood from right here on our property) or art work I’ll be at the Artisan Show at the VFW in Faribault this coming Saturday. I’ll also take custom orders!